New Delhi : India | Aug 10, 2012 at 10:25 AM PDT
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Soon after Team Anna ended their ten day fast at Jantar Mantar due to poor response from the citizens, now that Baba Ramdev, the controversial Yoga Guru has commenced a 72 hour fast at Ram Lila grounds. His demands are more or less on the same lines adopted by Team Anna but unlike Anna Hazaare and his colleagues taking a rigid stand on the issue of a strong Lokpal Baba has chosen a flexible approach on the most important demand - a diluted version of Lokpal. He has no opposition to the Lokpal bill prepared by the Central govt getting passed in Parliament and if at all any minor amendments are needed it can be discussed in Parliament and if needed minor amendments can be incorporated in the bill and get it implemented. He is unlike Anna who wanted a strong Lokpal in its true letter and spirit without introducing any changes as wished and wanted by the govt. Team Anna was of the view that a diluted version of Lokpal bill getting introduced and passed by the Parliament is tantamount to nothing because there will be possibilities galore for those at the higher echelons as well as those below their ranks escaping through the net misusing the provisions in the govt bill. That was not acceptable to Team Anna, hence they stuck to their demand for a Lokpal with teeth plugging all loopholes. Team Anna was not at all willing to introduce any changes in the bill under any circumstances. But ManMohan Singh led UPA govt was determined to proceed on the lines adopted by them and UPA-2 govt too adopted an equally rigid stand and cared not to hold any discussions with Team Anna. Finding lack of response from the part of citizens who a year ago rallied behind Anna Hazaare in lakhs got disillusioned with the Team primarily due to the lack of unity among its members and inner wranglings within, each citizen retreated into his/her cocoon. They must have thought that be it Anna or any such so-called social activist, he/she won’t stand by them, when they needed him/her most. In the meanwhile the hydra of corruption is spreading its tentacles with more vigour and intensity. Like Alan Paton’s Novel ‘Cry, the beloved country’ out of helplessness and frustration, the citizens too lamented over their fate sitting in their homes and must have come to the conclusion that India is doomed forever and corruption has become a way of life in India.

Baba Ramdev’s ultimatum of 72 hours to the UPA govt is likely to reach deaf years as the arrogant mandarins in the corridors of power are busy with some other business about which nobody outside has any idea.

Baba Ramdev is not considered a leader of the masses instead a Yoga Guru and let him mind his own business. Govt might be thinking on those lines. Furthermore the past incidents unfolded at the Ram Lila grounds are weighing in govt’s calculations. The midnight crack-down by Delhi police under the strict orders of the govt in which thousands were evacuated by adopting brute force, a number of them badly injured, many were forcibly taken into police custody and to cap it all a man of stature like Baba Ramdev wearing the nightie somebody had given, jumped from the stage and melted in the crowd, but was captured after two hours of intense search by the police and even reportedly lathi-charged him. He too was forcibly arrested and later taken away to his far away Ashram which actually tarnished his image. Clad in woman’s dress and escaping incognito was most unbecoming a man like Baba Ramdev in the process he was berating and belittling himself forcing the rest of the country laugh at him. The midnight crackdown and brute force applied on the silent protesters were reprehensible and even the court reportedly took notice of it and blamed the leaders who ordered the police to manhandle non-violent protestors.

Apart from getting the Lokpal Bill passed by Parliament and his oft-repeated demand is to bring back the black money stashed abroad. Then he wanted an autonomous CBI (now said to be under the command of PMO), a transparent path to be undertaken in the selection of Comptroller and Audit General, Chief Election Commissioner and Central Vigilance Commissioner who must function without govt interference are some other major demands.

Anna Hazaare and his colleagues line of entering politics is not at all Baba’s cup of tea. He repeatedly declares that his movement is strictly apolitical and will be apolitical. Likewise he doesn’t consider the offices of Prime Minister, President and Vice President free from corruption and Anna taking up cudgels against these august offices is not to his liking.

In short, he has chosen a middle path without sticking to a rigid path that was according to him Team Anna’s chosen path.

An Indian citizen aspires for an India devoid of corruption and such evils like that and I think he/she is likely to take a wait and see approach. Whether Baba Ramdev goes Anna’s way or not is that which baffles each Indian citizen.

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Indian yoga guru Baba Swami Ramdev (C)
Indian yoga guru Baba Swami Ramdev (C)
krsurendran is based in Kochi, Kerala, India, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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